Friday, March 19, 2004
FinCom eyes budget for FY05
The FinCom met on March 10 to review the list of budgetary items not covered under the town's levy limit guideline. The state's recent confirmation of $576K in free cash was higher than expected, primarily due to payments made to the town by landowners wishing to remove property from agricultural tax-protected status. The FinCom voted to transfer $225K in free cash to supplement a FY05 budget previously restrained by an expected 50% decrease in real estate growth.
According to member Deb Belanger, the FinCom will recommend funding the top three levels of budgetary priority: bringing the high school budget to the level recommended by the Concord FinCom ($121K); absorbing underfunded uncontrollable expenses such as heat, telephone, and legal ($28K); and adding items "we support and believe must get into the budget." The final category includes $34K for the Carlisle Schools for a reading specialist and curriculum coordinators; $19K to keep the police budget at the service level of FY04 (which was cut from FY03); $6,500 to keep Saturday hours at the Gleason Library, and $1K for fire cisterns.
Other items may be considered for an override, including an unspecified amount for the high school, $25K for Carlisle School activities, intramural stipends, and maintenance; $16K to bring the police budget closer to where it was two years ago, $6K to provide stipends to the town's EMTs, $10K to continue the town's master planning process, $2K for GPS mapping, $2K for communications, and $2K to provide level-service funding for the Town Treasurer. The town library has also requested $17.5K to provide Sunday hours.
Capital items reviewed
The FinCom reviewed $142K in capital items as recommended by the long-term capital requirements committee. This amount was reserved within the levy limit budget according to a FinCom policy of setting aside 1% of the previous year's tax revenue for capital expenses.
Included in the $142K were dehumidifiers ($6K) and technology ($25K) for the Carlisle School, $16K for fire department station repairs and protective clothing; $18K for radio receivers; $31K for a police cruiser and other equipment; $30K for a pickup truck for the DPW; and $17K for HVAC at Town Hall.
In addition, Carlisle will fund its portion ($153K) of the CCHS request for a language lab and locker room, possibly through a bond.
High-priority capital items not in the budget include software and carpeting for Town Hall, and furniture for the Corey dining room at the Carlisle School. These items, totaling $103K, may be recommended as part of an override.
The high school is expected to present an override request to the FinCom on March 24. The FinCom will then decide whether to recommend an override of the Proposition 2 1/2 limit on tax increases in order to fund the currently uncovered items.
© 2004 The